NCAA Bracket Predictions: 2009 First Round ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, March 16, 2009

NCAA Bracket Predictions: 2009 First Round

UPDATE: NCAA Bracket Picks for the second round are now up.

All right, we've reached the moment when I steel my nerves, peer over my bracket with wrinkled brow, and dive into the mad speculation and educated chaos of NCAA bracket picks!

As usual, I'll be taking a round at a time, and since the first round gives me 32 games to pick, any commentary will be off the cuff. Other than my pure love of the game, I'm receiving no payment for this, so consider sending me a cut of the winnings you'll undoubtedly steal from your coworkers. ;)

Now, while I have spent approximately a third of my life playing basketball and several months filling out brackets, I am an amateur--so don't bet your house on my advice. Your car, your condo, or the small shack in your backyard? Sure, but not your house. That ended badly for one dude last year.

OK, let's do this. Starting in the Midwest region, here are my bracket predictions. With a little luck, they'll help you dominate your pool, even if it is of the above-ground canvas variety.

Here's how things will go down in the Midwest Region.

#1 Louisville beats whichever poor schmuck wins the play-in. Pitino losing in the first round would be like the Godfather getting pick-pocketed.
#9 Siena beats #8 Ohio State. This one's a toss-up, and this year, in a toss-up game, I'll be typically picking the lower seed. Being the underdog is the new advantage.
#12 Arizona beats #5 Utah. Every year, a #12 beats a #5, and Arizona has the NBA athletes to pull it off. The fact that they "don't deserve to be here," in Dick Vitale's words, ensure that they win one game anyway.
#4 Wake Forest beats #13 Cleveland St. Remember when Wake was ranked number one in the country? There was a reason for that.
#6 West Virginia beats #11 Dayton. True, Huggins is greasy. But WV knows how to succeed in the tourney.
#3 Kansas beats #14 North Dakota St. The story of how North Dakota St weathered adversity and beat the odds to reach the tournament is heartwarming. But the Jayhawks know better than to overlook teams whose names start with "B." So they tear the Bisons' heart out of their chest and stomp on it.
#10 USC beats #7 Boston College. Boston College has beaten some good teams, but this match-up falls in the toss-up category, which means, you got it, we will be going with USC.
#2 Michigan St beats #15 Robert Morris. No brainer.

Here's who dies and survives in the West Region.
#1 Connecticutt beats #16 Chatanooga. This one won't be pretty.
#9 Texas A&M beats #8 BYU. A&M is better than people think.
#5 Purdue beats #11 Northern Iowa. No 12/5 upset this time. Purdue is tough.
#4 Washington beats #13 Mississippi St. This one will be closer than Washington would like, but they'll get the W.
#6 Marquette beats #11 Utah St. A lot of people think Marquette will blow this one after losing their star, Dominic James. I think they'll win for the same reason.
#3 Missouri beats #14 Cornell. Mike Anderson's squad is primed for a run in the tourney.
#7 California beats #10 Maryland. Maryland will try, but not replicate, it's surprising moments of success in the ACC.
#2 Memphis beats #15 Cal St Northridge. Tyreke Evans could almost beat CSN by himself.

Here's what transpires in the East Regional.
#1 Pittsburgh beats #16 East Tennessee. Remember that Blair guy? He won't need to pitch anyone over his back to win this one.
#8 Oklahoma St beats #9 Tennessee. It's just a bad year for Tennessee.
#5 Florida St beats #12 Wisconsin. Florida St is too hot to fall victim to the 12/5 ambush.
#4 Xavier beats #13 Portland St. Last year the Vikings got beaked by the Jayhawks, this year they get Xed.
#6 UCLA beats #11 VCU. Simply because my friend Will would hate me if I didn't advance his team through the first round. Actually, UCLA is good.
#3 Villanova beats #14 American. You've probably never heard of American. For a reason.
#7 Texas beats #10 Minnesota. This one will be a slugfest, but the Longhorns have the NBA caliber talent to pull off the victory.
#2 Duke beats #15 Binghamton. Kyle Singler is too much for the hapless Bearcats.

Finally, here's how things will go down in the South Region.
#1 North Carolina beats #16 Radford. Although they may get a scare first.
#9 Butler beats #8 LSU. Our underdog rule is back in effect here, as Butler pulls off an upset that really isn't.
#5 Illinois beats #12 Western Kentucky. Because I have several friends who are Illini fans.
#4 Gonzaga beats #13 Akron. The Bulldogs have the firepower to do some damage.
#6 Arizona St beats #11 Temple. We are close to our upset quotient for the first round, so we'll go with the favorite here.
#3 Syracuse beats #14 Stephen F. Austin. A polite Southern gentleman like Mr. Austin is no match for the tenacious Johnny Flynn.
#10 Michigan beats #7 Clemson. This is our final upset for Round 1, based purely on the fact that Michigan is so juiced about being back in the tournament after a decade in the cold.
#2 Oklahoma beats #15 Morgan St. National POY Blake Griffin takes it upon himself to ensure the Sooners advance.

Check back for the second round, regionals, and national semifinals, coming up. (You can bookmark or subscribe to stay posted.) Good luck with your own NCAA brackets, and if in doubt, take a few risks with your picks. A handful of good upset predictions never hurt!

UPDATE: NCAA Bracket Picks for the second round are now up.

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Will Robison said...

We agree mostly. I think we may have one or two upsets in different locations (mostly 5/12's) but approximately the same number of underdogs advancing. I don't see any major surprises this year.

Ariel said...

Nice, thanks for the backup. Are you competing in any online brackets? Curious how our brackets stack up.

Will Robison said...

I'm in Yahoo's Bracket Challenge. I think I end up with Louisville in both brackets I've filled out. I don't particularly like Louisville, but I think they just end up with the most favorable match-ups.

Unfortunately I don't see KU getting past the Sweet 16, but they've been kind of overachieving all season anyway - so they should enjoy whatever success they have this season. Then again, maybe they win it all in a year when they shouldn't to make up for all the times they should have won it all, but didn't.

Anonymous said...

good picks but how about filling in all the picks before watching the first round.

Anonymous said...

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